Background/Aims: Hydrothorax is a complication of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) occurring due to pleuroperitoneal fistulae. Several treatments exist with no consensus as to best management. We report on the largest series of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) treated pleuroperitoneal fistulae yet available. Methods: Between 1995 and 2000, we treated 6 CAPD patients for acute right hydrothoraces using VATS. Data pertaining to size and sterility of hydrothoraces, presence of diaphragmatic defects, surgical procedures performed, morbidity and return to CAPD were obtained. Results: Hydrothoraces were drained in all patients and there were no significant growths on subsequent culture. Fistulae were directly identified and closed in three patients. In the remaining patients, endoclips were placed across the base of small diaphragmatic blebs (the presumed site of communication). Parietal pleurectomy was performed uneventfully in all patients. There was no morbidity, all patients returned to haemodialysis and there have been no recurrences. Conclusion: Pleuroperitoneal fistulae produce symptomatic hydrothoraces in CAPD patients. A variety of approaches to the problem have been described. This is the largest series of VATS available and shows the usefulness of this approach in both closing the defect and producing an effective pleurectomy to prevent recurrence.

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